Tar Heels. Blue Devils.

The headlines scream about history, bedlam, and anxiety.

Lots of it.


I know that anxiety.

Two weeks ago the prospect of playing Duke

Kept me in a knot of worry and fear for a week.


Then I flew to Charlotte for a retreat.

I watched a couple of games with Nancy Chek.

What’s real, helpful, and actually up to me became clearer.


My anxiety was real, but not helpful.

It wasn’t helpful to me.

My anxiety didn’t help the Heels on the court.


Talking about superstitions was a poignant moment of the Being a Leader course.

I didn’t realize how much I was still doing things “as if” they impacted the game.

I’ve changed shirts at halftime and played my trumpet during TV timeouts.


None of them helped the Heels.

But, they did increase my anxiety – especially when they didn’t work.

That should have been a hint.


Watching the games with Nancy C provided an opening.

An opening to address my superstitions and anxiety.

An opening to talk about what’s real…for real, real.


UNC head coach Hubert Davis addressed this in an interview at the Final Four.

He told his players the only thing that was real was their preparation, practice, and play.

Every other storyline surrounding the game was a narrative out of their control.  And in his words, not real.


So, here’s the miracle: I’ve been at peace all week.

I’ve not tried to use my worry to will the Heels to victory.

How I feel (and especially how pundits feel) won’t decide the game’s outcome.


It’s good to be at peace.

I’m thankful to my game partner for helping me.